[HOMILY] GOOD FRIDAY, YEAR B
First Reading: Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1–19:42
Theme: “Suffered under Pontius Pilate”.
Christians all over the world will today commemorate the events of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ; a day which is known as Good Friday. However, after watching especially Mel Gibson’s movie on the Passion of Christ and the bloody scenes in the movie I began to ask myself what is good about Good Friday? What is good about a day that an innocent man was condemned to death? What is good about a Friday when God was crucified, and a day when hopes were shattered. What is good about a day that we are expected to leave the church in silence and sorrowful? These sentiments are natural but the readings of today afford us the opportunity to come to the understanding of why this day is referred to as Good Friday.
Explanation of the Text
Our first reading of today is taking from the Prophet Isaiah on the song of the suffering Servant. The allusions in this pericope can be seen in the Passion narrative of our gospel reading. Many characters in the narrative played various crucial roles that led to the unjust sentence and death of Jesus Christ and one of them was Pontius Pilate.
In the Apostles’ Creed; an article of faith which is professed by all Christians we have this line, “suffered under Pontius Pilate”. Indeed the Bible makes it clear that Pontius Pilate was the Roman Official who supervised and approved the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. Each one of the Gospel writers refers to this: Matthew 27:24, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24 and John 19:15-16. Peter and Paul in one of their preachings reiterated this same fact in Acts 3:13; 13:28.
Jesus was betrayed by a friend, deserted by close associates and denied by closest pal. His own nation and chief priests handed him over to Pilate to be crucified. Pilate is not only one of the most fascinating and complex characters in the New Testament but also one of the most tragic. He could have released Jesus but became complicit when he succumbed to the blackmailing and the pressure of the Chief Priest and the people. In fact Matthew 27:24 describes a memorable scene: when Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this Just Person”.
As we celebrate this day let us remember the laxity and complicity of Pontius Pilate in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Today many Christians have chosen to be on the side of silence. The growing culture of silence by religious leaders and Christians who are supposed to be the conscience of the society is destroying the moral fibric of the society. We are too afraid to speak truth to power for fear of being victimized. Today we have more Pontius Pilate in our communities, Churches, societies and homes. Like what Martin Luther King Jr said “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people… At the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”. Remember silence too is a complete sentence.
Have A Great Day & Shalom!!!
© Atta Kakra